Out for Good podcast on Mobility in Columbus

I am happy to be part of the first episode of Out for Good, a weekly podcast that explores issues facing Central Ohio and highlights the individuals and organizations making an impact.

Elissa Scheider (Transit Columbus) and I discuss why mobility is important to our community with co-hosts Jason Phillips and J.M. Rayburn.  You can listen to the podcast here.

Good Ideas Columbus

This afternoon is an event I have been anticipating for quite some time: the Good Ideas Columbus Happy Hour at Seventh Son Brewery.  Transit Columbus, a local, not-for-profit community-based planning organization is sponsoring this event: it is the culmination of a months-long process involving six design teams with six ideas for transforming transportation in Columbus.  Each team has a community leader (such as Mayor Michael Coleman), but consists of citizens who volunteered their time and energy to make Columbus more livable and sustainable.

Other Transit Columbus events have produced creative solutions to transportation problems in Columbus, such as the Design Your Transit event this past Autumn.  We should see some good, perhaps great, ideas tonight as well.  As a relatively recent transplant (re-plant?), I must say that I am very impressed with what I see in Columbus.  There is a great urban fabric to work with, a committed leadership, and great grass-roots energy.  People love the Cbus and believe in its future.

As their Facebook page says, “Trains, bikes, pedestrians, food and beer.”  How can you go wrong?  See you this afternoon at Seventh Son Brewery (1101 North 4th St).

Road building, traffic safety, oil by rail and air quality: A brimming cornucopia of transportation news

Some days its seems like it rains transportation news.  Today is one of those days.  I’m going to be efficient (read: lazy) and provide a single round-up of several interesting news items:

  1. People are driving less so should we stop building new roads? As the Atlantic Cities reports, vehicle miles traveled in the US is leveling, perhaps declining.  When will we stop increasing road capacity and invest in alternative modes?  (Thanks to Michael Widener for this post.)
  2. This week in my Sustainable Transportation course, we talked about safety.  Lo and behold, a tale of two “cities” spews forth from cyberspace – a map of NYC traffic fatalities and injuries and an article from The Economist about why Sweden has so few roads deaths.  (The Economist article notes that NYC is trying to match Sweden’s success with its Vision Zero Initiative.  One can see why.)
  3. Meanwhile in upstate New York, there is increasing concern about the amount of oil traveling by rail instead of pipelines due to the domestic energy boom.  [NYT: Bakken Crude, Rolling Through Albany].   ‘ “Albany is getting a lot of the risk and almost no economic benefits or jobs from this,” said Susan Christopherson, a professor at Cornell University’s Department of City and Regional Planning.’
  4. Speaking of crude, one reason why Putin is watching developments in the Ukraine is so many of Russia’s gas and oil pipelines pass through it.  [NYT: The Ukraine in Maps]
  5. Finally, air quality is so bad in China it is being compared to “nuclear winter”: sunlight can not get through to crops, potentially threatening the food supply.  [The Guardian: China’s toxic air pollution resembles nuclear winter, say scientists]